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Kansas Supreme Court Selected Opinion Summaries - June 8, 2007

Summaries and press releases are prepared by Ron Keefover, Office of Judicial Administration, Kansas Judicial Center, 301 West 10th, Topeka, KS 66612-1507 (785-296-2256), e-mail: keefoverr@kscourts.org.


The Supreme Court today filed 37 opinions. The full text of these decisions may be found at www.kscourts.org.

Appeal No. 93,627: State v. Tyree Conway

The Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Robert E. Davis, affirms the defendant's Sedgwick County convictions of first-degree felony murder and criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied vehicle, rejecting his claims of prosecutorial misconduct during closing arguments, failure to provide a limiting instruction concerning gang evidence, failure given an instruction that the shot killing the victim may have come from outside the vehicle to support the underlying felony for felony murder, multiplicity of charges, and cumulative error.

Appeal No. 95,673: State v. Terry Scott-Herring

The Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Eric S. Rosen, affirms the defendant's Sedgwick County first-degree murder conviction, rejecting his claims that the district court erroneously admitted evidence and improperly instructed the jury; that the prosecutor committed misconduct, and that he was denied a fair trial by cumulative error.

Appeal No. 95,335: State v. Victor Andre Carter (opinion modified June 22, 2007)

The Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Carol A. Beier, affirms the defendant's Saline County convictions of first-degree murder, aggravated assault, and criminal possession of a firearm, unsuccessfully claiming that he was denied a fair trial by the district court denying his motion for a continuance, refusing to allow defense counsel to withdraw, failing to instruct jurors they should consider imperfect self-defense as they deliberated the first-degree murder count, admitting a gruesome photograph and giving a jury instruction.

Appeal No. 95,138: State v. Vaccaro M. Stano

The Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Robert E. Davis, affirms the defendant's Shawnee County conviction of first-degree premeditated murder, rejecting his claims of error in the exclusion of his exculpatory statement to police, the admission of preliminary hearing testimony at trial of an unavailable witness, the trial court's failure to give a cautionary jury instruction on informants' testimony, and prosecutorial misconduct during closing argument.

Appeal No. 94,295: State v. Jeremy L. Hernandez

The Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Robert E. Davis, affirms the defendant's Montgomery County first-degree murder conviction and imposition of the hard 40 prison sentence, rejecting his claims of prosecutorial misconduct involving comments on his right to remain silent, the admission of hearsay evidence, the admission of repetitious, gruesome photographs, the unconstitutionality of the hard 40 sentencing scheme, and the insufficiency of evidence to support the hard 40 sentence.

Appeal No. 92,956: State v. Ronald Johnson

The Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Lee A. Johnson, affirms the defendant's Wyandotte County first-degree murder conviction and resulting hard 50 prison sentence, rejecting his claims that the hard 50 statute is unconstitutional, that evidence of aggravating circumstances to support the sentence was insufficient, that a mistrial should have been granted based on references to the defendant's release from jail, prosecutorial misconduct in questioning a detective about the credibility of the victim's son, the admission of gruesome photographs, trial court's failure to admit a police evidence custody slip into evidence that was requested, but not subpoenaed, by the defense, cumulative error and three contentions contained in a pro se brief filed by the defendant.

Appeal No. 92,592: State v. Frederick Dean Walters

The Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Lawton R. Nuss, affirms the defendant's Wyandotte County conviction of voluntary manslaughter, rejecting his claims that reversible error was committed by the exclusion of evidence the defense contended were key to establishing that his actions were in self-defense.

Appeal No. 94,857: State v. Tieller M. Adams

The Court unanimously affirms the defendant's Sedgwick County conviction of first-degree murder, rejecting his claims that the district court abused its discretion when it concluded that Adams failed to establish good cause to permit withdrawal of his no contest plea, that there was an insufficient factual basis to support the felony murder, and that his plea was the result of ineffective assistance of counsel. Opinion authored by former Justice Tyler C. Lockett, sitting in for Justice Donald L. Allegrucci.

Docket No. 98,057: In Re: James L Daniels

The Court imposes a one-year suspension of a Kansas City, MO, attorney's law license based on his representation of a client in the death of her daughter.

Docket No. 98,102: In Re: James B. Pattison

The Court suspends the law license of a Hutchinson attorney indefinitely based on his representation in two unrelated matters.

Docket No. 97,287: In Re: C. Richard Comfort

The Court orders published censure for a Concordia attorney based on his representation of a for-profit economic development corporation.

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